Saturday, March 8, 2014

Answering Injustice Part 1: To Act or Not to Act?

Most of us have, at one time or another, been on the receiving end of an injustice.  What exactly is it  that makes it such an incredibly hard pill to swallow? 

Injustice's primary characteristic is INEQUITY...which typically takes the form of either the meting out of undue punishment or reward, or the withholding of a due punishment or reward.  Perhaps it's the imposition of consequences for unincurred or exaggerated guilt, or the attribution of unearned honor or promotion.  Perhaps it's the minimizing or overlooking of a grave offense, or the failure to deliver a promised or earned reward.  The scales are no longer level and we sense...we feel...we KNOW "this is not OK."

The inequity is often accompanied by some measure of human indifference, distortion, or deception and is usually fostered by lies, partial truths, or silence about known truths.  
Add to the not-rightness and the deception, the fact that injustice nearly always comes from the hand of someone who holds a position of authority in our lives, which leaves us powerless to act or bring it to light.  We are left without recourse and we find ourselves in the middle of a thoroughly overwhelming circumstance.  Deceptively punished or passed over by someone in a position of what?

Our responses inevitably include some pretty strong emotions that cannot and should not be ignored.  Hurt, Grief, and Anger are commonplace and, I should add, entirely valid reactions to injustice.  But what are we supposed to DO with all of those feelings and what do we do about the actual situation?   
We really have only two options: Set it Right or Let it Go.   

When an injustice is perpetrated against someone other than myself, a compelling case can be made for speaking up...taking action...doing everything in my power to relieve the injured party by seeking justice on their behalf.   I may not be successful, but unless my confrontation increases the risk of damage to the already-hurting person, it's a risk I ought to seriously consider taking. 

On the other hand, if *I* am offended party, it is unlikely I will find relief or benefit myself or anyone else by making a case on my own behalf.  I will likely end up experiencing additional hurt and humiliation.  Unfortunately, the best course is often silent endurance.  But...there is danger in choosing silence.  Unresolved conflicts rooted in injustice can quickly and easily turn to numbness, cynicism, or bitterness in the soul unless we relentlessly fight against letting those things take root.  Because we usually can't make sense  of the situation, and because we believe that real wrongs are being perpetrated, we can't "just" Let it Go like water off a duck's back.  It's not that simple.   

However, I do believe there is a way to walk this road and find peace, healing, and contentment, even apart from a just resolution of the situation.  That way is the way of Humility.  In the next post, I'll lay out some steps that get us moving in the right direction.   

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